Dental Tips Blog


Are Metal Fillings Bad for Teeth?

Posted in Fillings

Dentists have used amalgam dental restorations which contain silver and other metals to fill teeth for decades.

Metal fillings have been in use so long because they are cost-effective and easy to place. In fact, you can still find some dental offices that offer them.

Such places are becoming scarce, however, for the following reasons:

Amalgam Fillings Contain Mercury

Mercury is an essential part of metal fillings because it’s what enables the filling to be shaped and placed into a tooth before hardening. This mercury stays in place and shouldn’t make you sick. But some people still worry about having a potentially dangerous substance in their mouths.

Metal Fillings Stress Tooth Enamel

Although amalgam fillings last a long time, they can put a lot of wear on teeth.

Metals expand and contract with temperature changes. A metal filling gets slightly larger in warm temperatures and shrinks slightly in cool ones. Your mouth regular experiences extremes in temperature change when you take in hot and cold foods.

The problem with this is that your teeth can’t expand and contract as fast as metals do. With time, the more rapid motions of a metal filling can weaken the enamel and cause tiny cracks that lead to sensitivity, fracture, and cavities.

Silver Doesn’t Look the Best on Teeth

Metal fillings are also falling out of favor just because people don’t like the look of them especially when there are more subtle options like white composite fillings. A tooth-colored filling is much more natural looking and is especially useful for making small cosmetic smile enhancements.

Ask your dentist about which restorative options available in your area are right for your smile.

Posted on behalf of:
Dental Care Center At Kennestone
129 Marble Mill Rd NW
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 424-4565


Dentists Taking Steps to Combat Effects of Mercury

Posted in Fillings

Starting in July 2017, a couple new initiatives are going into effect with the aim of reducing the effects of dental mercury on the environment.

Very few dental offices in the United States still offer amalgam (50% mercury) as an option for dental fillings. They are being phased out and replaced by composite tooth colored fillings which are more conservative and metal-free.

While getting a silver filling isn’t likely to put your body at risk of mercury poisoning, getting these fillings removed could gradually be doing damage to the environment.

Dentists have to clean out the metal, which generates a mercury vapor that can be harmful if they breathe in a lot of it over the course of their career. In addition, the waste gets washed down the drain and into the water supply, where it can accumulate in drinking water and seafood.

After decades of efforts to completely eliminate the use and effects of mercury-based fillings, a couple of major steps have been taken.

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Clean Water Act

A part of this act requires that all dental offices in the United States install amalgam separators that trap mercury debris so it can be properly disposed of.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): Minamata Convention on Mercury

This initiative goes into effect as of August 2017 and aims to phase out mercury use in dental offices on a global level. As a start, dentists are encouraged to not provide silver fillings for children and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Later talks will work toward the goal of eliminating mercury use entirely by 2030.

Want to know more about smile-safe dental restorations? Talk with your local dentist about your options.

Posted on behalf of:
Montevallo Family Dentistry
711 Wadsworth St
Montevallo, AL 35115
(205) 665-2224


Why Can’t I Get a Metal Filling Anymore?

Posted in Fillings

Dentists still learn how to place metal fillings in dental school, but you don’t see them used much these days. If you really wanted one, it could still be done.

But there are solid reasons why metal fillings are going out of date. Most of today’s dentists open up their practices right from the start offering only white composite dental fillings, so you’re bound to have a hard time finding metal ones. Here’s why:

White Fillings – Kind To Teeth

Metal fillings don’t create a very snug seal with the tooth. Thus, they require more of the tooth to be carved out so they can be anchored in place. White ones form a chemical bond with tooth enamel so they can afford to be more minimal in design.

While amalgam restorations are strong and long-lasting, they can sometimes be too strong for the tooth. The metal expands and contracts with temperature change at a rate faster than the tooth itself does, creating tiny cracks that allow bacteria to leak in. Conversely, composite fillings “give” similar to natural teeth.

For Future Reference

White composite fillings allow for a little more visibility on dental x-rays. A large metal restoration can block the view and is better at hiding sneaky cavities. If you develop new decay, you’ll be glad to catch it early on.

Err On The Safe Side And Go Mercury-Free

Tooth-colored dental fillings don’t contain any mercury. Granted, the traces in metal fillings are too small to worry about, but not having to deal with the substance anymore is healthier for patient and dentist, alike.

Are you keeping up with recent developments in dentistry? Contact your dentist for the latest.

Posted on behalf of:
Ora Dentistry
2733 Elk Grove Blvd #180
Elk Grove, CA 95758
(916) 975-1000


Do White Fillings Stain?

Posted in Fillings

Look at those gorgeous new white fillings! You might be smiling bigger and laughing louder these days, happy you’re no longer self-conscious over metal fillings.

Most folks are very glad to update old restorations with fresh tooth-colored ones. But the next order of business is keeping them in good shape.

Can your composite tooth colored fillings stain? Unfortunately, yes, your new white fillings will eventually pick up pigment from the foods you eat and darken over time. Metal fillings pick up stain, as well. You just don’t notice it as quickly. But tooth-colored fillings can discolor and get even darken around the edges. 

Can I Bleach the Stain Out?

You might now wonder: “will teeth whitening remove stain from my white fillings?”

The answer here is a disappointing no. Bleaching will lighten your teeth, but that may only make the darkened filling stand out even more.

Happily, a simple dental cleaning may do the trick. Your dental hygienist will carefully buff away surface stain while polishing your teeth. Professional tooth polishing is usually enough to get rid of all kinds of stain.

Just in case your smile doesn’t respond to a thorough polishing, there is one more solution that’s guaranteed to work.

Your dentist should be able to replace old, damaged, and deeply stained fillings with new fresh ones. This is very common for restorations in front teeth that show when you smile.

With brand-new fillings to match your smile, you’ll be motivated to brush and rinse better than ever before. You’ll also be able to keep your composite fillings white by avoiding things like:

  • Red wine
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Smoking

Schedule a consultation with your dentist to find out more on keeping your smile white.

Posted on behalf of:
Mansouri Family Dental Care & Associates
4720 Lower Roswell Rd
Marietta, GA 30068
(770) 973-8222


4 Benefits of White Fillings

Posted in Fillings

Metal fillings are falling out of style as you read this.

It’s not that metal (aka “silver” or “amalgam”) fillings aren’t safe or effective. Lots of people still appreciate the strength and durability of the traditional fillings. But they are getting a little harder to find. Today’s dentists just aren’t placing as many of them as they did in years past.

Why is that?

Here are four solid reasons to get onboard with the increasingly popular white fillings that are taking over modern dentist offices:

  1. Composite Fillings Chemically Bond with Tooth Enamel

White or “composite” restorations create a tight seal with the tooth after placement. This keeps them securely in place and helps prevent cavity-causing bacteria from invading in through any leaky margins.

  1. White Fillings Are Conservative

Because metal restorations don’t bond chemically with teeth, they require the removal of more tooth structure to wedge them in place. Getting a white composite filling instead can help you hold onto more of your tooth!

  1. Go Mercury-Free!

Although the metal fillings haven’t been proven to cause any problems, some people are still nervous about their trace mercury content. With the metal- and mercury-free composite restorations, you don’t need to worry about any adverse effects.

Ask your dentist which option is right for you!

  1. They Just Look Better

You have to admit it: a mouth full of metal fillings isn’t something you’re quick to show off. When all your fillings blend in with your natural tooth color, no one ever has to know just how many cavities you’ve had. Smile without shame after you trade in your silvers for composites!

Talk with your dentist to find out how white fillings could improve your smile for the better.

Posted on behalf of:
Ambler Dental Care
602 S Bethlehem Pike C-2
Ambler, PA 19002
(215) 643-1122


How to Prevent White Fillings From Staining

Posted in Fillings

White, or composite, dental fillings are the popular choice because of their aesthetic value and non-invasive design. They match the color of your teeth far better than metal fillings do!

The downside is that they can be prone to stain. When they become discolored from the foods you eat, they can stand out in contrast with your teeth. That kind of defeats the purpose doesn’t it?

How can you keep your beautiful composite fillings white for as long as possible?

Watch What You Eat

Avoid heavily staining foods such as:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Soda
  • Berries
  • Red wine

If you do enjoy these items notorious for dark pigments, rinse with water afterwards! The less time these dark substances spend near tooth surfaces, the less will be absorbed around your white fillings.

Keep Up Excellent Oral Hygiene

Regularly brush your composite fillings with a soft toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. Keep the tooth surrounding each filling strong by using products that contain sodium fluoride. By frequently brushing and rinsing away those dark, staining products, then they won’t have much opportunity to stick around.

Update Your Fillings As Needed

A little stain is no reason to change out your fillings. But if the fillings are very old and very visible when you smile, then updating them will improve the appearance of your teeth.

There may come a point when you are ready to update your aged white fillings for a solution with dramatic and lasting results. Front teeth will look so much better when old fillings in them are replaced with crowns or veneers. Talk with your dentist about your best options. An examination will help you decide when you need to whiten, vs. when you need to change your fillings out for good.

Posted on behalf of:
Kennesaw Mountain Dental Associates
1815 Old 41 Hwy NW #310
Kennesaw, GA 30152
(770) 927-7751


Why Should You Consider White Dental Fillings?

Posted in Fillings

A dental filling is a restoration that helps patch and prevent further decay in a tooth.  When a cavity is found in your tooth, the decay is removed and a filling is placed.  There are a variety of materials that can be used, most commonly amalgam (known as metal or silver fillings) and tooth-colored composite resin.  Composite resin is the preferred material for fillings, but why should you choose it to restore your tooth?

Less Tooth Prep

Amalgam fillings require a larger hole to be drilled in your tooth than a composite resin filling would, so that it can adhere correctly.  This unnecessarily weakens the tooth, by destroying more of the healthy, natural tooth material. Composite fillings require only the removal of the decay, preserving the most enamel possible.

A Stronger Tooth

A silver filling doesn’t bond to the tooth or strengthen it.  Instead, the filling filling is wedged into the cavity, held in by pressure and force against your tooth. Composite resin fillings bond to the porous tooth structure. This creates a stronger tooth, and allows restorations to be placed in a wider range of areas (such as your front teeth.)

Avoid A Silver Smile

When you’re laughing, you want your beautiful smile to be noticed – not the flash of silver in your teeth.  Composite resin fillings are customized tooth restorations that are blended to match the color of your tooth.  This offers a restoration that only you and your dentist will know is there.  When you smile, you can be confident that your pearly whites will be the only thing that is admired.

If you’re considering a composite filling or concerned about the mercury in your existing amalgam fillings, give your dentist a call today!

Posted on behalf of:
Grateful Dental
2000 Powers Ferry Rd SE #1
Marietta, GA 30067
(678) 593-2979


3 Benefits of Composite Restorations

Posted in Fillings

There are some dental patients who consider themselves “old school.” They mean this in regards to their attitude towards fillings. Such individuals believe that traditional metal (amalgam) restorations are the economical option and that they work just as well as the white (composite) fillings.

However, before you have your next filling, consider a few of the reasons many dentists recommend the placement of composite restorations.

Virtually Indistinguishable

Composite restorations are made of a tooth-colored resin-based material. This makes your teeth far more appealing to look at when you smile! When you sport metal fillings, you show the world exactly how many cavities you’ve had. Many people find that having a smooth, white smile boosts their confidence and affects their ability to network and even to successfully manage business affairs.


Amalgam restorations do not bind with the tooth, so they require that the tooth has an anchor carved out of it. This extra carving removes healthy tooth structure that was not infected by a cavity. Composite restorations (as you will read) do not bind to a tooth that way, so they are far more conservative in nature.

Chemically-Bond with Teeth

Composite restorations are made up of materials which create a strong seal with the underlying tooth. This makes the fillings less likely to develop gaps and new cavities than metal fillings. This chemical bond improves the retention of the filling and requires that very little tooth material be removed.

For the reasons discussed above, many dentists advocate the use of composite restorations. Talk to your dentist about using modern composite restorations for your next dental filling.

Posted on behalf of:
Alan Horlick DDS
6572 Hwy 92 #120
Acworth, GA 30102
(770) 591-8446


3 Reasons Why You Should Choose Metal Free Fillings

Posted in Fillings

Metal fillings may seem a bit out-of-date, but some patients still prefer them to composite (white) dental fillings. However, there are many benefits that composite fillings have over traditional amalgam restorations:

Composite Fillings are Minimally Invasive

Metal fillings require adjusting the tooth in order to wedge the filling into a position that holds it in place. This makes the filling larger and more invasive. With a composite filling, the material bonds directly to the surface of the tooth enamel. For this reason, less tooth preparation as needed. The results are smaller, less invasive fillings that preserve as much natural tooth structure as possible.

They Blend in With Your Smile

It goes without saying that composite fillings are a more appropriate cosmetic option. Each white filling is carefully matched to the natural shade and undertone of your tooth enamel. After the filling is placed, most people will never even know that you had dental work done. The fillings blend in with your entire smile, the same way other dental treatments do – like crowns, veneers or bonding.

They Can be Used on Any Tooth

Due to the physical properties of metal free fillings, they can be used on just about any tooth in your mouth. Their appearance provides the freedom to place them on the front teeth that are visible at all times. You can’t do that with metal fillings. In the past this meant larger restorations were needed. Now you can preserve your healthy tooth structure by using a small, minimally invasive white filling instead.

If you have a cavity that needs to be filled, or want to discuss changing out your old metal fillings with white ones – call your dentist today.

Posted on behalf of:
Family & Cosmetic Dental Care
2627 Peachtree Pkwy #440
Suwanee, GA 30024
(770) 888-3384


When Should You Replace Your White Fillings?

Posted in Fillings

Have you had your white, composite fillings for several years? Are you wondering whether or not it’s time to have them replaced? Just like other types of restorations, tooth colored fillings can wear out as well. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re considering replacing your fillings or having cosmetic dental treatment completed:

Do You Plan on Whitening Your Teeth?

If whitening your smile is in your near future, then you’ll want to discuss your options with your dentist. Fillings, of course, do not change color when you whiten your teeth. They are permanently shaded a certain color. Talk to your dentist about your whitening treatment and how to match new fillings to the new color of your teeth.  

Are The Margins Leaky?

Do you see dark stain around the edge of your filling? Did the filling used to blend in with your tooth but now it stands out? It could be that bacteria and stain particles are beginning to seep into a leaky gap around your filling. New tooth decay could develop in these areas, so have your dentist check them regularly.  

Do You Have Sensitivity?

Sensitivity to cold, hot, or sweets can be an indication that your filling needs to be changed out. Pressure or air sensitivity are also red flags. If the sensitivity affects only the one specific tooth, then it’s time to have it checked out.

Regular visits with your dentist can identify problems like these before you begin to see or experience symptoms. With a routine exam and x-rays, your dentist can help keep your dental treatment to a minimum and your smile healthier for years to come.

Posted on behalf of:
Gold Hill Dentistry
2848 Pleasant Road #104
Fort Mill, York County, South Carolina 29708
(803) 566-8055

Most Popular

Tori, Exostosis, and Extra Bone Formation in the Mouth

A fairly common occurrence in the mouth is the existence of extra bone development along the outside or inside of the jawline near the teeth, or in the roof of…

Difference Between Conscious and Unconscious Sedation

Sedation dentistry is a wonderful option for many people who would not or cannot tolerate dentistry in a traditional dental setting.   Many people have a fear of visiting the dentist,…

Lingual Frenectomy versus Lingual Frenuloplasty

Lingual frenectomy and lingual frenuloplasty are both dental procedures used to correct a condition called ankyloglossia. Ankylogloassia, more commonly known as ‘tied tongue’, is an abnormality of the lingual frenulum….